By Drew Farmer –
After surviving the Syrian civil war, a refugee family of four hoping to start a fresh life in Tucson have been left scared for their safety. The family feel that they are prisoners in their own apartment after receiving a threatening letter that read: “Go home killers!”
The crude letter, with occasionally misspelled wording, was taped to the family’s front door. It was a reminder that they are still unable to escape persecution, even thousands of miles away from Syria. Even in the “land of the free and home of the brave,” the family were unable to find any respite and now worry about intimidation from their neighbors.
The letter, which looked like it was written by a group of teenagers, was scribed in multiple colors. The note read, “Please move before danger can happen” and “You are Muslim and not welcome.” The letter also insulted the family, calling them “cowards” and “terrorists.”
Originally from Homs, Syria, the family fled the country when the troops of President Bashar Assad approached their neighborhood looking for political opposition to execute. The family escaped to Lebanon, where they spent two years. During that time, they worked tirelessly on the never-ending paperwork to gain refugee status in the United States.
The family, who asked not to be named for fear of attack from locals, say they are now living in fear all over again. Local police have stated they are examining the case, but no leads have surfaced to identify the perpetrators.
While the United States was supposed to be the family’s escape from a war-torn country, and the fear of death, it has turned into a nightmare, a country populated by people that are unwelcoming. Although the family had enjoyed the American Dream when they arrived, relishing a freedom that was absent from their lives in Syria, the last few weeks have changed all of that.
More than half of the state governments in the United States have spoken against the housing of Syrian refugees. Twenty-nine of the 30 states that spoke against them are governed by Republicans, and all 30 said that terrorist activities were their motivation in opposition of accepting refugees.
According to the Tucson Police Department, the letter was the first reported of its kind in the city. That doesn’t mean it was the first time an incident of this nature has occurred. Being that refugees are an extremely vulnerable part of society, needing a helping hand rather than persecution, many may have decided against reporting similar instances, especially if they felt the local authorities would be reluctant to help them.
In a statement following the incident, the father of the family told reporters he doesn’t want the perpetrator or perpetrators to get into trouble. He merely wants those responsible to know the family came to the United States to be a part of American society and live freely, just like everyone else.
Although the family hopes nothing more will come of the threat, it cannot be ignored that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has helped fuel the fire of discontent toward refugees and Muslims. In interviews, Trump has stated that American Muslims are hiding terrorists from the police and he wants a ban on all new Muslims entering the country. With such strong rhetoric from a presidential hopeful, it is amazing that a refugee family hasn’t received worse than a letter of insults.